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Trump’s Occupation Of D.C. Fuels Calls For Statehood

The District of Columbia faced an overwhelming federal law enforcement presence this week as its residents protested police brutality against Black people. And the district could do little to stop it, thanks to politically motivated opposition to granting statehood to the majority Democratic city — with its plurality of Black residents — or giving it voting members in Congress.

But since the passage of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act in 1973, the city had not seen itself occupied by the federal government against its wishes until this week. That action is prompting renewed calls to make the district the 51st state or at the very least to finally take action to give local officials authority over the deployment of the National Guard and to restrict the president’s ability to seize control of the local police force.

Federal forces deployed by President Donald Trump and under the direction of Attorney General Bill Barr violently dispersed a peaceful protest on district streets on Tuesday.

“DC police are required by law to wear badges that must be visible ‘even if wearing riot gear,’” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted Wednesday about the unidentified federal forces. “But because Trump called in federal agencies to crack down on peaceful protests, people in the nation’s capital once again are treated as second class citizens.”

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